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January 24, 2018
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The president of Michigan State University is resigning, after being pressured for weeks to step down amid the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal, MSU announced Wednesday night.

Lou Anna Simon became MSU's first female president in 2005, and began her career at the university in the mid-1970s. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and former MSU doctor, pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. More than 150 women have accused him of abuse, and on Wednesday, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

Several of the victims said they told MSU officials about the abuse but were silenced or ignored, the Detroit Free Press reports. Simon said she received a report in 2014 regarding Nassar being cleared in a sexual assault investigation, but did not see the full case file. While some members of the board of trustees called on Simon to step down, she had the support of others, as well as notable MSU employees, including basketball coach Tom Izzo.

UPDATE 12:04 a.m.: MSU released the resignation letter Simon sent to the board of trustees, which included an apology to the women who were abused by Nassar. "To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment," she wrote. "I know that we all share the same resolve to do whatever it takes to avert tragedies here and elsewhere." Catherine Garcia

7:49 a.m. ET
Universal Pictures via YouTube

Ryan Gosling's First Man did not quite achieve lift-off.

The Neil Armstrong biopic came in third place at the box office this weekend, with last week's releases, Venom andA Star Is Born, taking the number one and number two slots respectively, Box Office Mojo reports. It earned $16.5 million, despite projections it would break $20 million and potentially even $25 million, per Variety. But although it had this weak start, the film could still end up being a success if it holds steady over the coming weeks, a distinct possibility considering the amount of Oscar buzz it has.

It seems A Star Is Born, another critically-acclaimed movie with Oscar buzz, may have just taken the wind out of its sails, as the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga musical grossed $28 million this weekend. That's only down about 33 percent compared to its debut, and it brings the film's total gross to nearly $100 million.

The biggest success story of the month, though, is Venom, which took the number one spot once again this weekend and grossed another $35 million after having the best October opening of all time. This brings the comic book film, based on the Spider-Man source material but without Spider-Man actually being in it, up to a domestic total of $142 million and counting, a massive success for Sony and a clear indicator that their planned universe of Spider-Man films has gotten off on the right foot with audiences. Brendan Morrow

7:37 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took President Trump up on his offer. Trump, who regularly mocks Warren's assertion that she has Native American ancestry, said he would donate $1 million if she took a DNA test. Now she has. It found "strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree at least six generations ago, The Boston Globe reports. Warren provided a DNA sample to a lab in Georgia, and the results were analyzed by world-renowned Stanford DNA ancestry expert Carlos Bustamante and sent to Warren last week. "The vast majority" of her ancestry is European, Bustamante found, but the results also "strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor."

Six to 10 generations "fits Warren's family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American," the Globe reports. But it also indicates she's no more that 1/32 Native American. Warren is expected to easily win re-election to the Senate in November, but the ad about her ancestry she released on Monday suggests she's serious about a run for president.

The Boston Globe extensively researched Republican claims that Warren got any of her academic jobs because of her claim to Native ancestry, and found only evidence that she was not considered a minority hire.

That's not to say people use dubious Native American ancestry to get preferential treatment. On Sunday, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that a company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) brother-in-law William Wages earned more than $7 million in federal contracts due to Wares' claim to be 1/8 Cherokee. Wares belongs to the federally unrecognized Northern Cherokee Nation, considered fraudulent interlopers by the three recognized Cherokee tribes. Neither Wares nor any of his known ancestors appear on tribal ancestry rolls dating back to the early 19th century, a Cherokee genealogist discovered, and the Times found that all of Wares ancestors identified as white. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m. ET

On Sunday, the New York Police Department said it is looking to identify three men recorded kicking and beating a man on the street Friday night after far-right commentator Gavin McInnes and his "Western chauvinist" Proud Boys spoke at the New York Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan's Upper East Side. McInnes told The Wall Street Journal in an email that the Republican Club event had included him re-enacting the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma by a sword-wielding 17-year-old far-right nationalist. After the re-enactment, McInnes wrote, he gave a speech "making fun of" liberals and mainstream media.

McInnes acknowledged that some of his Proud Boys had been involved in the vicious attack afterward. "It was a hell of a beating but that's what you get when you antagonize a group of people and relentlessly attack them for 24 hours," McInnes told the Journal. According to a video of the attack by freelance videographer Sandi Bachom, it started after one of the protesters who'd gathered outside the Republican club swiped a Proud Boy's MAGA hat. "If the cops hadn't pulled up, they probably would have just kept going and killed them," Bachom told Newsweek.

Police arrested three protesters for theft and assault on Friday night but none of the Proud Boys. They are also looking into Republican complaints that their clubhouse was vandalized with an anarchist symbol before the event. On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called the Proud Boys "thugs."

Asanuma's murderer has been celebrated as a martyr by some right-wing groups. In 1960, the U.S., represented in Tokyo by Ambassador Douglas MacArthur, called the public assassination "deplorable." Peter Weber

4:33 a.m. ET

On Monday, right after Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, arrived in Sydney for a 16-day visit to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, Kensington Palace announced that the couple is expecting their first child in the spring. The prince and the former actress Meghan Markle "appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace said.

The couple will also visit Fiji and Tonga, and their trip will include watching the Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for injured veterans that Prince Harry helped launch. Peter Weber

4:13 a.m. ET

On Oct. 2, U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, and Turkey said it has conclusive proof that a Saudi death squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This "incredibly grim" story is "absolutely horrific, and the Saudis denied it happened — although let us all agree on this: A bone saw in any context is an immediate red flag," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight.

Khashoggi was a "thoughtful and by no means radical critic of the Saudi royal family," Oliver said. "And this is all worrying, because the only reason to kill a journalist in your own consulate with 15 people and a bone saw you flew in that day is because you wanted to send a message, and you were sure you could get away with it." He had a pretty good idea why the Saudis would think they'd face no consequences.

America has a "long and morally compromised history" with Saudi Arabia, and while many "U.S. presidents have, to varying degrees, been willing to pander to Saudi Arabia," turning "a blind eye to a lot of things," Oliver said, President Trump has really embraced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, an overhyped reformer whose every positive achievement has "a much grimmer truth underneath" it. "Trump's intense bromance with MBS is bad news," Oliver said, but it makes sense because the Saudi royal family has "the two qualities he admires most in the world: Having a lot of money, and giving it to him. He basically said as much on the campaign trail."

Trump says Saudi Arabia faces "severe punishment" if it's proven they murdered Khashoggi, but "does anyone really believe that that's something he is honestly committed to?" Oliver asked. In more honest remarks, Trump "openly demonstrated to the entire world, and to Saudi Arabia specifically, that [an] arms deal [is] much more important than [a] butchered journalist." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:20 a.m. ET
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"Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority," The Associated Press reports. "And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well."

Republican incumbents being abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) compalin that national House Republicans are not living up to their promise to spend $62 million, as outlined in a September memo declaring that "the cavalry is coming." The NRCC, which is taking out what AP describes as a "sizable loan," says it has to "hone in on what are the races we can actually win," as House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fundraising chief Spencer Zwick phrased it. And Ryan's allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, grouses it has had to step in to boost weak fundraising by GOP incumbents. In more than 30 toss-up races, the CLF notes, it is the only GOP group spending any money in 14.

Overall, according to filings submitted Friday, Democratic candidates have outspent their GOP rivals $116 million to $66 million in almost 80 competitive House districts since July, AP reports. The CLF has spent another $93 million in the same period, thanks largely to the deep pockets of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. "This is going to be a devastating election for Republicans across the ballot," says GOP strategist Terry Sullivan. "Republican donors are smart folks," he added. "They're not going to give money to a losing cause."

The good news for Republicans, says Nate Silver at FiveThityEight, is that "Democratic prospects in the Senate are increasingly dire, having fallen to about 1 in 5. Indeed, it’s been hard to find any good news for Democrats in Senate polling lately. In the House, by contrast ... Democrats' chance of taking the House has ticked back upward to about 4 in 5."

You can read more about the polling at FiveThirtyEight and see which House races the GOP has abandoned at The Associated Press. Peter Weber

1:16 a.m. ET

Team USA clinched a spot in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France on Sunday with a lopsided 6-0 win over Jamaica in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. women's national soccer team won the 2015 World Cup and is ranked No. 1 in the world. (The U.S. men's national team did not qualify for the 2016 World's Cup.) Canada, ranked No. 5 in the world, also secure a spot in the 2019 World's Cup on Sunday, notching a 7-0 win over Panama in the qualifying tournament in Frisco. The third slot in the regional delegation to France will be determined in a game on Wednesday, and the loser of that match will face Argentina for one last shot at playing in the World Cup.

Team USA took an early lead against Jamaica, ranked 64th in the world, with a goal by Tobin Heath in the second minute. Her second goal in the first half came off a pass from Lindsay Horan.

Alex Morgan also scored two goals, and Megan Rapinoe Julie Ertz kicked in one each. Along with its 2015 victory, Team USA won the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991 and won again in 1999. Peter Weber

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